Few journals regularly publish outbreak investigations or surveillance analyses and those that do have limited coverage of Asia and the Pacific. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is one journal that publishes such works. Nevertheless, the primary focus of MMWR is in the United States. Just two months after an article in MMWR described two U.S. scombroid outbreaks with a total of 11 cases, the largest reported scombroid outbreak in the world, involving 92 cases, occurred in Southeast Asia. Although an informative investigation report was completed, it was written in an Asian language and had limited circulation. Hence, most public health professionals were unaware of this outbreak. This was the impetus behind OSIR, a publication devoted to health reporting in Asia and the Pacific. 

Many applied epidemiology training programs in Asia and the Pacific collectively conduct hundreds of investigations and dozens of surveillance analyses annually. Most are routinely documented in structured reports; however, circulation of the findings has been incomplete. The findings in these reports represent an impressive body of work and many of these reports have the potential to change approaches to disease control, not only in their countries of origin but also in other countries. 

The Outbreak, Surveillance and Investigation Reports (OSIR) Journal was established in 2008 as a free online publication in order to encourage and facilitate communication of health information and disease reporting across Asia and the Pacific. In September 2018, the journal is retitled as the "Outbreak, Surveillance, Investigation and Response" while maintaining the same abbreviation as OSIR. The ISSN is 2651-1061.